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Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

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Experiments with which the theory of internal friction in fluids has more or less to do may be performed for either of the following objects: first, to test still further the truth of the theory ; secondly, to determine the index of friction of various gases, liquids, or solutions; to investigate the dependance of the index of friction of a gas on its state of pressure, temperature, and moisture ; or to endeavour to make out the law according to which the index of friction of a mixture of gases depends upon the indices of friction of the separate gases; thirdly, to measure the length of the seconds' pendulum, or its variation from one part of the earth's surface to another.
81. First object. The theory has been already put to a pretty severe test by means of the experiments of Baily and others. Nevertheless there are some uncertainties in the comparison of theory and experiment arising from the influence of modifying causes of which the effect could only be estimated from theory, and yet was not so small as to be merged in errors of observation. Moreover, experiments on the decrement of the arc of vibration are almost wholly wanting. The following system of pendulums, meant to be swung in air and in vacuum, would afford a very good test of the theory.
No. 1.    A 2-inch or IJ-inch sphere swung with a fine wire.'
No. 2.    A very small sphere swung with the same kind of wire.
No. 3.    A long cylindrical rod, a few tenths of an inch in diameter.
No. 4.    A cylinder only three or four inches long, of the same diameter as No- 3, swung with the same kind of wire as No. 1.
The vacuum tube ought to be of sufficient size to render the estimated correction for confined space less than, or at most comparable with, errors of observation. The vacuum apparatus used by Col. Sabine would do very well. If the vacuum tube be not of sufficient size, it ought to admit of removal, and to be removed when the pendulums are swung in air.
In all the experiments the arc of oscillation ought to be carefully observed several times during the motion, the observation of the arc being quite as important for the purposes of theory as the observation of the time. Indeed, if it should be inconvenient to